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Hammond Organ M-series...Need some Hammond Advice!

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Guys,

 

How's it going? I am looking at a Hammond M-103. It's supposed to be in Mint condition. I have yet to see it, but probably will this week.

 

Anyway, I've gone quite a bit of research on this model and it seems that: It's not a B3, but (with a Leslie) the old Hammond sound can definently be coaxed out of it. Also, the spinet model shaves off a lot of weight which doesn't suck.

 

If anyone has any experience with Hammond spinets please reply.

 

Here are a few pics of the exact organ I'll be looking at later this week.

 

They are asking $350...how does that sound?

 

Thanks Ten Million,

 

ezt

 

Hammond1.jpg

 

Hammond4.jpg

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I worked a lot with M2s, which are spinets. Don't be scared that it won't sound good, because it's still a great Hammond sound, just slightly mellower than your traditional B3 rock sound. Personally I actually prefer the sound of the spinets, as did Boston (as you can hear an M3 in "Foreplay/Long Time").

 

A couple notes though:

Without a Leslie they are nothing impressive. The M103 to my knowledge also doesn't have percussion or chorus/vibrato, although I could very well be wrong as I've never used that particular organ and those traditional stop tabs are throwing me off, I'm not sure exactly what they do from those pictures. If it doesn't have it, you can add on percussion (there are kits available).

 

Don't pay $350 unless it has been perfectly maintained and oiled since it was purchased, it has no exterior blemishes whatsoever, it works flawlessly, and it's all original or restored. I'd try to get them down to $300 anyway since the M103 is definately not an in-demand model. Flagships and such like the B3, M3, C3, etc can fetch decent wads of cash, but those are very different. I believe there should be a maintenance log of some sort inside the bench, maybe on the underside of the flip-up seat that should have records about oiling and such. Check it out and all. If it has been used but not properly oiled and they don't have the manual, get them down lower to maybe $250.

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You can't go wrong.

 

I had a Hammond M-3 for years. That was the older version (mid 50s to early 60s). The M-100 was the top of the line spinet for years in the 60s.

 

I sold my M-3 with a Model 45 leslie for $150 about 5 years ago. So, you can probably buy one for cheaper than $350. Although, if you pay $350, you are doing OK.

 

It looks to be in good condition. Do the test where you verify that every key works. Also, check each drawbar. And verify that the vibrato works. The vibrato scanners are expensive to fix.

 

These things are built like tanks. Should last years.

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BTW, the M-100 has the percussion. It also has some presets, although I seem to remember that they were better suited for church organ.

 

The M-100 is pretty cool. Keith Emerson dragged one around stage for years. Although, technically, that may have been an L-100.

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I rescued TWO Model M Hammonds from the Salvation Army a few months ago. Went like this: KABLAM!!!!!! What was that noise? The guy just dropped a Hammond from the gate of the truck. If nobody "bids" on it then it goes into that trash heap. OMGOMGOMG!!!!! Got it for twenty bucks, only damage was to the top shelf which came off from the fall. AND, this is real now, the same thing happened the very next day-thats why I've got two-out in the garage.

Ready for this? I ask them-"Do you know what a Leslie is???"

Yep, now I've got two of those too. This stuff is tossed around at salvage auctions like so much furniture because thats what they think of it as(How much for that baby grand up against the wall?).

Oh yeah, three hundred bucks? Not without a good Leslie(models 122,147,145). And even then not unless it works perfectly. Servicing can be painful unless you're handy.

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You guys are THE BEST. You never let a good fella down.

 

Yeah, I kinda realized that the Leslie is going to make or break me. They probably don't have a Leslie. The Leslies can be VERY expensive...unless I just hang out and wait for one to pop up at a very reasonable price...but that could take a while.

 

Anyway, is there some kind of work around to get the Leslie sound without a real Leslie? I'm also a guitar player so I've got all sorts of amps and speaker cabinets.

 

So, I'll check all the keys, vibrato, see if there's a checklist, try all of the drawbars and effects...and then offer them $43.00. lol

 

How afraid shouls I be to walk? I mean I'm getting the vibe that (if I keep my eye out) I can find one for dirt cheap (even perhaps free).

 

So, I know nothing about Hammonds...anything else I should take a look at?

 

Thanks For The Help and Advice!

 

ezt

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I have had an L-102 (very similar to the M series) for about 12 years - I t has sat in my garage for about 8 years because I cant give it away - if you want the b3 or c3 sound - then get one - because any other model sounds like any other organ - 350 is way too much - also keep in mind that even if you find a leslie - which can be expensive - the organ must be modified with the controls to hook the leslie up - which is another big expense - when its all said and done your in probably close to 1k for an outdated, heavy ass, completely unreliable, peice of crap that sounds nothing like a B3 and in fact you would get a closer B3 sound out of most synths these days (or NI B4) than another hammond model. And dont kid yourself about the weight - it may be lighter than a B3, but it is still WAY too heavy to move around for the sound it gives.

 

Don't be fooled because it says hammond. Its the same with any company - sure the minimoog said MOOG on it and was great...but the satalite also said MOOG on it...and it was pretty far from great.

 

If you want to drive to southern california Ill sell you my L-102 for 50 bucks - its got a line out in the back to plug into a guitar amp.

 

dont waste your money

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Oh, boy...here we go!

 

lol.

 

Well, I'll go check it out, but I'll try not to force myself into getting it. We'll see. I'll know when I play it if it's something I want.

 

I probably won't be moving it around too much, it will probably be used for recording purposes.

 

Oh, My Leslie...

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Ditto on what electrobaby said. And NI B4(Native Instruments VST B3)is no joke. It comes with an impressive Leslie effect and I think you can patch other sources(guitar) into it. Get the free demo and DFY.

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Would you say that a B3 is nothing special without a Leslie?

____________________________________________________

It is certainly going to be a quiet B-3 since that model has no built-in speaker system and must use either a Leslie, a PR-40 Hammond speaker or be hooked up to some kind of amp/speaker. That being said, a Leslie 122 or 147 or something similar is the way to go. Since these are expensive even used you could also look for one of the Motion Sound "leslie" speakers. Not a bad substitute and usually much cheaper, especially used. And make sure that the organ you buy has percussion.....you won't be happy without it.

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What exactly is this percussion that I keep hearing about? I thought it was like a built in cheezy "marimba" or "cha cha" beat.

 

I'm beginning to think that it's ain't that...but also I believe the M-103 has percussion...whatever it is.

 

Anyone care to 'splain?

 

ezt

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Percussion is a Fast Attack/Fast Release that's added to the notes played, and actually has nothing to do with drums.

 

The M-103 is a Tone Theel Organ (AKA Electro Mechanical), which is good. It is lacking what's called "foldback", which the larger models use. I don't pretend to understand this, but I think it changes the harmonics for certain notes played.

 

I think it has reverb and chorus, but don't quote me on that.

 

I see you listed over at Hammond Zone. GOod choice. Those guys have forgot more about Hammonds than I know.

 

Anyway, if you're not gonna be dragging it around, go ahead, buy it, get a Leslie and have a blast.

 

And yes, I think the Leslie is intregal to the Hammond sound.

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350 is a bit much, but if it's mint and you want a nice piece of furniture and the REAL hammond sound (sorry guys but B4 is not a real hammond) then go for it.

 

I had a 1962 M that someone gave me because it was cluttering up their garage. I kept it in my basement and played it now and then and decided I needed the space more, so I traded it for some other non musical stuff I wanted. It sounded sweet, even without a leslie. I grew up playing an L100 which is very similar. The 1st time I ever went into a studio I was about 19, and they had a C3 with a leslie. I was playing it on the tracks and the studio owner commented on how easily I got around the controls, and I told him hey, I've been playing a hammond since I was 7! :)

 

Keith Emerson used the L100. The original porta B is an L100 in a different box. (just threw that tidbit out there)

 

Foldback on the larger keyboards is where a drawbar goes out of the range it's tonewheel can produce. For example, the low notes played with the 16' drawbar out will jump up an octave at some point as you play lower on the keyboard. I'm not sure of the note where this occurs but I know ther are some notes on the low end that sound the same as an octave higher with the 16' drawbar.

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Originally posted by electrobaby

Don't be fooled because it says hammond. Its the same with any company - sure the minimoog said MOOG on it and was great...but the satalite also said MOOG on it...and it was pretty far from great.

 

This isn't true at all, and the reasoning is terrible. Yeah Hammond did start putting out cheesy sounding, church oriented electronic transistor-type organs later on (later in the seventies and in the eighties), but a sixties M series is not just a lame, out of demand Hammond by any means. No a spinet doesn't sound like a console, but it's still damned good and sounds more like it than most things do, if that's even what you're going for. If you ask me it's kind of boring to rip off other people's sound all the time and to always go for the sound that's been used over and over for fifty years, but you didn't ask so I'll digress.

 

Anyway, if it's just a shitty Hammond dust collector, why did Boston use an M3 for "Foreplay/Longtime" (as I've mentioned before), which is one of the single most impressive organ songs ever written for any Hammond, whether you actually like it or not?

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Originally posted by SylvStuart

Ditto on what electrobaby said. And NI B4(Native Instruments VST B3)is no joke. It comes with an impressive Leslie effect and I think you can patch other sources(guitar) into it. Get the free demo and DFY.

 

+1

 

b4 -especially if u r mostly in the studio. it is the most versatile, authentic emulation available, IMHO. the expansions allow you to emulate the farfisa, wurly, vox & more.

 

 

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And as for a Leslie, when I said it's nothing good without one, I was assuming there wasn't chorus/vibrato or percussion. That's plenty enough to keep it from sounding like a bad church organ as far as I'm concerned. A lot of bands in the sixties and fifties did use Hammonds without Leslies for a few songs that were very mainstream, so it's by no means unesable. You won't be able to tap all the potential, but it's still a very good instrument that is a blast to have until you do get a Leslie.

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Originally posted by SylvStuart

Ditto on what electrobaby said. And NI B4(Native Instruments VST B3)is no joke. It comes with an impressive Leslie effect and I think you can patch other sources(guitar) into it. Get the free demo and DFY.

 

I have NI B4 and I do think it's almost on par with a real Hammond, but you run into a lot of issues.

1) You have to dump a fairly decent amount of money into a computer that will handle it as well as the optimal interfacing cables. Without a good soundcard it develops a surprising amount of latency.

2) Computer interface. You don't have the benefit of real drawbars to tweak while you play. Maybe with the right controller keyboard (even more money) you can use midi commands or something, but I've only ever been able to use the mouse, which moves one drawbar at a time. Forget playing stuff like "Fly Like an Eagle" by Steve Miller band or anything with advanced drawbar techniques.

3) It still isn't a real Hammond.

4) That second manual demands a second controller keyboard and I dont' even know if B4 does that.

 

Saying anything put out by Hammond other than the B3/C3 is crap is total bullshit. The A100s are incredible, as are the M series and a whole host of others. Saying B3s and C3s are the only good Hammonds is like saying the original Stratocaster is the only good Fender...yeah lets just ignore all the different kinds of Strats they have put out as well as the Telecaster :rolleyes:, because we all know the only good Fender is the original Strat. :rolleyes:

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You're absolutely correct. Hammonds are wonderful machines indeed. B4 impresses me mostly because it comes in a jewel case. I've hauled many a Hammond around and I'll never ever forget the experience. They are very physical machines and the experience, both playing them and moving them is a very physical one.

Again with the jewel case(a few grams maybe?). I happen to already have a nice laptop, two controller keyboards which are stacked to closely mimic the Hammond double console, and a couple of decent Leslies. I do need to get a good midi interface but when its all setup I'll TRY to get it as close as possible to my Hammond C, which I will NEVER EVER haul to a gig again. EVER!

Yes B4 has some issues, with latency being the major one. There are a few other problems that purists point out but I think it can do the job.

No, its not a Hammond, but...........

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Wow, you guys are animals...

 

Well, let me explain a little more about what I'm trying to accomplish. The music I write is Billy Joel, Beatles, Elvis Costello type stuff. I have pretty simple gear tastes, but I really love authentic stuff. Even if if something's a fake...I like it to be a GOOD fake.

 

I have a Yamaha P200 which I think has a great Hammond sound on it. Recently, I bought a Fender Rhodes for dirt cheap and a Hammond was the next thing that popped into my mind.

 

I know I'm not going to tour with it (unless one day I am blessed enough to afford that), but I thought it would be cool to have a M100 to dick around with for a few hundred bucks rather than dream about getting a B/C/-3 or an A100 for years.

 

I'm 25 and I want to buy shit that I can build on. I want to enjoy it now. I want to record with it too.

 

I probably will spend money on a Leslie.

 

All this fuckign talk and I haven't even played the damn thing yet...I'll call this guy tomorrow. I'm getting the idea that 350 is like pretty high. I might hit him with $200.00 and see what he does.

 

Anyway...just thought I'd tell you a little more about what it will be used for and who will be using it.

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Definately hit him with $200. It's just not worth more than that, especially with moving. I've had people pay me to take perfectly good organs out of their houses.

 

If you want a Hammond sound, especially for mellow stuff, you will like an M series (probably). The keyboards aren't as large as consoles, they're a little shorter and there could be a couple drawbars missing (not sure with the M103), but most Beatles and Billy Joel doesn't pull the full usefulness out of a Hammond (nothing wrong with that). All this talk of "the only B3 is a B3" is ridiculous because a mint condition Hammond B3 with leslie can run up to $9000, whereas a mint condition M series with leslie rarely goes for $300 if that. I say the M and B series are just completely different beasts, I don't think one is necessarily bad.

 

The thing with leslies is that they are model specific. A mint leslie for a B or C series can be expensive (even though there are two different model leslies), but since the M series uses different leslies and they are in less demand, it shouldn't be a problem to find one that works and is somewhat inexpensive.

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Wow, that's crazy news abotu the Leslies...so what model Leslie would I be looking for? Wow...I thought I could just hook up any old thing to that bastard.

 

Here's a little article I found...can this possibly be true?! Because if it is...

 

"John Paul Jones used his own M-100 for the first Led Zeppelin record, on "You Shook Me" and "Your Time Is Gonna Come." The M-100 is featured on the "You Shook Me" solo beginning at 2:07. The most interesting aspect of this track is the lack of a Leslie speaker; considered standard practice for Hammond recording, the Leslie speaker adds a spinning effect to the organ tone. Instead of a Leslie, Jones used the M-100's built-in Vibrato setting and, throughout the solo, he changes the Vibrato/Chorus rate and depth, which effectively creates a similar sound to the Leslie. The M-100's Vibrato/Chorus tone shares the same circuitry as the larger B3 and C3, so it is slightly superior to many other spinet models (like the L-100). "

 

If you haven't heard that solo...I suggest gettnig an MP3 or something right away! NO LESLIE!?!

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